preschool games

Summer Science Series: Teach the Elements Using Bubbles

Who knew that bubbles could provide an awesome STEAM and (or STEM, your pick!) learning activity for preschool aged-kids? They're a great way to learn about the elements, specifically, how gases work. Watch as Rachel walks some of her former preschool students through play and learning with bubbles.

What are gases, anyway? How do you teach something you can't see? 

But wait! You CAN see gases when you know where to look — when they're trapped in a soap bubble! Our team of little learners explores how we breathe gases in and out, using the fun of bubbles as a guide. Watch and share ideas you've used to teach young learners about gases in the comments.

Summer Science for Preschoolers: Discovering Shadows

We have a riddle for you:

What gets bigger... 
and smaller? 
What goes to bed at night...
and wakes up every morning? 
A shadow!  

Exploring the wonders of shadows with your kids this summer can be a fun way to teach them about planets. The concept of shadows can sometimes be a little difficult for kids to grasp, so why not take them outside for a some hands on experience? All you’ll need is some sun, chalk, and friends! Then..

1. Pick a place to draw the shadow and a stance you’re willing to hold for a little bit
2. Mark your feet with X’s
3. Have the kids trace your shadow with dark chalk
4. Come back every two hours
5. Stand in the same spot as the X’s
6. Retrace your shadow to see how it’s changed! 

Then take some time to ask the kids what happened. How has the shadow changed? Is it shorter? Taller? How could this have happened? And give the kids the opportunity to ask questions, too. Get them thinking about the world around them and planets other than the one they live on to teach them just how amazing science can be! 


What Is Tinkering?

Put on your safety goggles! Rachel visits the Chicago Children's Museum's Tinkering Lab and Kim Koin, "Head Tinkerer," to learn about why experimentation and learning by doing is so important for children zero to five. 

So, what is tinkering, anyway? Tinkering is a way of trying things out without a preconceived notion of if what you're going to do, a great form of exploration. Through tinkering, kids can learn that failure is a great option. Even when you don't succeed in what you set out to do, you learn from your "failures" and will be able to make something even better in the future.

Tinkering can be a little bit intimidating to the first time adult supervisor. So here are a few tips for tinkering at home or in your classroom:

  • Wait, watch, follow: Give you children a chance to figure it out for themselves. 
  • Keep it simple.
  • All you need to start is a piece of wood, a hammer, and nails. Little imaginations will take over from there!